How does touch affect our mental and physical health? | DW Documentary

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Touch shapes us as humans. Indeed, touch is fundamental to what makes us social beings. Touch influences how we perceive stress and pain, who we trust and who we fear. How does this work? And what happens to us in the absence of touch?

Gentle touch is vital for us humans. It creates the first contact with the world for newborns, giving us a sense of security and belonging. Touch influences our immune system, and on our feelings for our fellow human beings. Especially strong feelings, such as love or compassion, can be better conveyed through touch than through words, facial expressions or gestures.

Given how important touch is, it’s no surprise that humans have a highly specialized system devoted exclusively to perceiving gentle touch stimuli. Why does the touch of a stranger feel so different to that of someone we are emotionally close to? What is happening in our brain – and what role does the brain play in all this?

In an era of social distancing, touch research is becoming increasingly relevant. How does it affect us, and our relationships, when we are required to keep our distance? Researchers explore what role touch plays in our physical and emotional well-being, and what the consequences are when touch is missing.

#documentary #dwdocumentary #touch

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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.

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  1. This makes me kind of wonder why i dislike physical touch so much. My parents were somewhat affectionate and my siblings and I are so close that we can literally hang out in piles in order to watch tv from a favorable view everyone else is fine with it, except for me though, i say nothing, i simply tolerate it. I HATE being touched in almost all circumstances. I only ever tolerate it for the sake of others. If i see a friend struggling for instance, and i know a hug might help them, i push through and offer that to them, or allow them to hug me if they gesture for it, despite me not actually caring for the feeling, but i do care to help people i care about. I tolerate hugs from parents cause i know they enjoy the interaction. I try not to come off as cold but i just can't help it sometimes. I don't even like hand shakes, shoulder pats, HATE massages. I also have some other particular tactile issues too tho.. Maybe it all stems from the same place. I found out much later in life that one of my brothers was pretty much the same way, he just never expressed his feelings either. I dunno if this is simply a symptom of some other issue or what. I just know that I tend to grit my teeth towards any kind of physical touch while everyone else just seems fine by it and even feel joy from it. The only time I have ever liked touch is when I am in a lot of pain or extremely ill my bf would rub my back and strangely it helped alleviate some of the suffering a bit, maybe cause it was detracting i dunno.

  2. Touch is the energy of love that runs through our body and not only touches the body but can touch the soul with the transmission ❤️🙏

  3. LOL, "We humans are herd animals". Sorry, she should speak for herself on that on, I'm not an animal, humans are completely different species of creation. Unpopular belief, but true.

  4. Yet we start the lives of 1000s of babies a day with physical harm to the most sensitive part of their body ("circumcision") when we should be cuddling them with skin-to-skin contact.

  5. I hate the scientists tortured monkeys to discover the obvious.Not everything in life needs to be proved by science for those born with common sense.

  6. This is true healing….touch, it's important to take time to care for ourselves. Touch by literally touching our own skin with love to self soothe.

  7. This explains so much about westerners. As an African I have often been astonished by how miserable and aloof, even ftom one another, you seem to be. Finding out that some of you for so long thought touch unnecessary for babies, explains so much.

  8. I'm always intrigued and somewhat amused by how western cultures always seem to catch up on obvious beneficial life styles or traits decades or sometimes centuries behind other cultures. And even when they do they quickly confound very simple realities with science or commodify them. Like the people in New York who started selling hugs just a couple of years before covid hit. Selling hugs.🙄🙄

  9. Can anyone tell me what the Neuro Scientist Rochelles last name is at approx 7.12 seconds into it. I have interesting information I would like to share some things with her in regards to treatment in PTSD mental illness and touch so I require to find how I can contact her. I can't catch her last name if someone can work it out for me..

    Hope someone can help. Thank you everyone.

  10. As a person with a chronic pain illness… sometimes touch to me really needs to be more than Dr's and physio but I find people are either too hard or don't touch me at all

  11. ¡GRACIAS! Thank you for this incredible documentary… I hope that it will be translated into Spanish as soon as possible to show to lot of friends that are interested in this topic. Thank you again. DW is incredible.

  12. I was born in Europe and moved to the US when I was young so I know the difference in culture for sure. That being said. I have been touch deprived for the last seven years of my marriage. There was also no emotional intimacy. No kind words. No gratitude. All she wanted was that I worked. So I am finally getting out after 21 years. I stayed for the kids. Very sad but without love there is death. That's what I feel. Hopefully I can find a partner who likes to love and be loved in return. In my personal opinion; love is the only meaning of life.

  13. Being a Certified Rolfer, working every day with the sense of touch I am greatful that you made this video because people don t realize the impact of touch in our health. So, thanks a lot!

  14. I never experienced the power of a touch from my parents but I promise myself that my kids will enjoy it to their fullest

  15. I really believe that even people who are comatose can still feel touch and hear us. When my love one was not waking up in ICU, I held his hand and talked to him everyday. He woke up on the 4th day.

  16. Have they looked at nursing homes where the elderly were kept away from friends and family for their own safety. Did it affect them negatively? Were there more deaths in these kind of places when people were more isolated than ever before?

  17. This is a very important area of research. But more importantly we need to somehow adopt (revert to) a far more affectionate culture.
    I know from my time living in more affectionate cultures how beneficial it is on so many levels!!!

  18. I I live in assisted living. I have M.S. I receive a massage monthly. It is wonderfully healing. I have noticed the difference in getting a massage from the therapist with and without gloves ( COVID protection)

  19. There's a scene in a show called "Sharp Objects", from HBO Max, with Amy Adams… It is so slow, so intimate, so gentle… This is an amazing documentary, thank you.

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